NBCU’s Brian Buchwald says legacy and reputation don’t mean much to local media consumers so companies scramble to rebrand and refocus their online experience.
Pedigree is quickly becoming a thing of the past in the online age.
Traditional media, once the authoritative point of information, is now quickly trying to adapt its content to a localized consumer, regardless of its name recognition.
“Legacy and reputation won’t save you,” Brian Buchwald, executive vice president of local integrated media and NBC Everywhere, NBC Universal, said during his keynote address at ILM: 09.
NBC Universal entered the realm with its Locals Only online brand last year, providing local news and information without the local broadcast news branding, hoping to refocus the company’s online presence.
Buchwald said that trust and consumption of broadcast news is high, but the audience is fragmented and steadily growing older.
Consumers’ expectations are quickly changing, as they want a mobile source of local and national information that allows for dialogue, he said.
“Top down information is dead,” he added.
He said NBC hopes that its reimagining of local media begins to encompass more than just people who watch the nightly news. In 2010, he expected an average audience of 3.7 million people watching the nightly local NBC news in New York City, down from 10 million in 1998.
But, he said, NBC’s multiple avenues of local media, including Locals Only, taxi and gas pump-installed NBC Everywhere screens, and New York Nonstop, a 24-hour local news channel, should bring the core audience of locals consuming NBC product on a local level up to around 16 million.
For the online side, the Locals Only branding targets “social capitalists,” Buchwald said, which contain 25-to-54-year olds that are web-savvy, have eclectic tastes, are leaders and love to try new things.
Buchwald said the sites have grown by leaps and bounds, moving from 29 million page views in November 2008 to 179 million views last month. The median user age has dropped from 44 to 35.
He didn’t discuss how the upcoming Comcast ownership transfer will affect NBC’s local online media push, but said he was confident the sites will continue to be profitable, as long as turnkey advertising solutions like AdReady can help keep operating costs down.